The Rise of the SPADS

  morddwyd 20:08 05 Apr 2011

I recently watched a programme about what goes on behind the scenes at Whitehall, and one of the points which struck me was the proliferation of special advisors, or SPADS as they referred to them.

They came to a peak under Blair, it seems, and have made themselves almost indispensable.

Many of the top posts in the Cabinet and its shadow are now being filled by ex-SPADS, from Cameron and Milliband downwards.

If things go on the way they are we will have a government, and opposition, run mainly by dark suited young (-ish) graduates with no experience real life outside university, or even of real politics as practised in the council chambers, constituency offices and golf clubs throughout the land.

I have commented before that I thought they all looked like clones of each other; now I know why!

  john 52 21:39 05 Apr 2011


I also watched the program it was very interesting

  grey george 21:36 06 Apr 2011

That programme showed just who keeps things really running. If you take recess's, paternity leave and electioneering the recent incumbents have hardly been there at all. Meanwhile the Whitehall staff just get on with the job.
On the railways spads are short for: signals passed at danger.(ignoring a red light) Do you think there maybe a correspondence.

  Al94 21:59 06 Apr 2011

Some of them can be quite creative click here

  Miké 22:59 06 Apr 2011

As a former Tube driver, I thought this was a thread about London Underground's safety record :-)

I don't think either Cameron or Milliband have ever been tube drivers.

  DippyGirl 00:48 07 Apr 2011

If business was run like the country (start - stop times, long recess, decision making - both elapsed and outcome etc.) it wouldnt last a week
But good to know that civil servants are now know as SPADs .....much catchier than in Sir Humphrey's day, and an acronym with high potential for abuse.

  morddwyd 08:31 07 Apr 2011

SPADS are not civil servants, they are political appointees who are usually at loggerheads with civil servants.

  morddwyd 08:35 07 Apr 2011

Surprised to hear you say that Cameron, Clegg and Milliband can all "play a useful role".

You'll be calling Alex Salmond an astute politician next!

  SparkyJack 08:38 07 Apr 2011

Either as a SPAD or MP have spent a minimum time in
employment in the real world.
Not a 'Daddy Fix' either but a proper job at a low level and making their own way for a period- and then a reference from an employer as part of the CV presented in the selection process.

  Grey Goo 18:12 07 Apr 2011

Thought you were talking about the French WW1 Biplane (SPAD XIII)
click here

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